Euro No More: Or How We Can Learn to Stop Hating and Love Major League Soccer

on 27 June 2011 in Crocketteers.com, General, Major League Soccer, NASL, Recruitment, San Antonio, Scorpions FC, US Men's National Team

Over ninety-thousand spectators gathered in the Rose Bowl to watch a US sporting event.

Nine. Zero. Zero. Zero. Zero.

That is a lot of people to attend anything. Especially anything not named the Super Bowl. When many hear that the throngs showed up for soccer, for the Gold Cup final, they will be very surprised indeed. They would not be so shocked, however, had they been paying attention recently.

Soccer is legitimate in America. Forget legitimate, actually. It is BOOMING.

Attendance is up yet again and MLS is playing at levels previously unseen on this continent. The quality of the product, on and off the field, is at an all-time high, the league is growing in every direction, and, unlike the NFL and NBA, the sport lacks all of the drama of lockouts and handbags between millionaires.

Soccer is on in America. And it is time to join the party.

America actually has a ton of soccer fans. Unfortunately, too many of these folks fit the label of “Eurosnob”. You know this guy. Maybe you are this guy. This is the guy who drones on and on about how if MLS had any decent players or anywhere near the quality of the Premiership or La Liga, well then maybe he would watch. This guy talks about “Total Football” and UEFA and steers every American soccer conversation to Alexi Lalas to avoid revealing that he hasn’t paid much attention domestically since, oh, 1996.

I actually don’t argue with this soccer fan. He is knowledgeable and passionate and loves a good product. He appreciates the European atmosphere and the skill of the players who ply their trade overseas. Good for him.

Our friend the Eurosnob probably loves American soccer, if only in the form of the US Men’s National Team. He sports a Landon Donovan jersey during the World Cup and waxes eloquently about craft beers and Lionel Messi. Really…good for him.

I sat my Eurosnob friend down recently. It had to stop. More than anything, my friend was missing out on the birth of something amazing.

I nicely explained that he needed to check out MLS one more time. He chuckled. I explained how 2011 is not 2005 and that if he would be so patient as to wake up to the new reality, he might just enjoy the ride.

Let me introduce you, I said, to Eric Hassli. He’s a French dude. He plays for Vancouver. He scores unbelievable goals in front of 36,000 screaming fans.

Um, ya. My friend sat with his jaw on the floor. Ok, well…

“But what about the atmosphere,” Eurosnob wondered? Is that just Seattle?

It’s a good question, really. Half of the fun of any live sporting event is the atmosphere. Many still remember when every MLS match was seemingly played in a 60s era football stadium with 9,000 people in the stands. Oh, how times have changed.

New soccer-specific stadiums filled with incredible supporters’ groups all over the country have made the beautiful game really beautiful in America. Fans pack stadiums in Toronto and Philadelphia, in New York and Los Angeles, in Kansas City and Salt Lake. And Portland. How to explain what is happening in Portland

That should do.

Well, unless the argument is that there isn’t some brilliant play happening in America. The entire league has risen in stature, but one player in particular has upped the class of MLS entirely. Thierry Henry is still very much a force. And Thiery Henry is worth watching all by himself.

Soccer in America is quickly catching up to the elite leagues of the world. Cities around the country are being lit on fire by the excitement that comes with a real club to support and a real stadium to capture the atmosphere. Incredible talents are finding their way to American clubs more and more. Incredible buildings are showcasing captivating skill. Incredible storylines are being written every week.

It is simply a matter of exposure. My Eurosnob friend downloaded the MLS iPhone app right there and then and has been catching up on 2011 highlights since. My neophyte friends are beginning to see that the beautiful game possesses an allure not found in other sports. My fellow Americans are waking up to a new reality.

Soccer is legitimate…and it is legitimately crushing the American sports scene.

15 Comments to Euro No More: Or How We Can Learn to Stop Hating and Love Major League Soccer

  1. Great stuff on MLS. MLS’s time has arrived. Pick a team or get left behind.

  2. Jared on 27 June 2011
  3. Nice, propaganda piece. Find it hard to believe you can convince a fan of proper football that the third rate football provided by the MLS is worth watching. Your story lacks any plausibility.

  4. yeahokay on 27 June 2011
  5. yeahokay…

    everyone likes steak. to avoid a great hamburger because it isn’t steak is a bit silly.

    enjoy our ever improving MLS hamburger or don’t – if you turn it down, i’ll have seconds.

    KB

  6. Kyle Burkholder on 27 June 2011
  7. While MLS as a whole is an improved product. It still is not or ever will be the EPL or La Liga. I watch the MLS because its a decent product and because I know some of the players. I go to games in Dallas and the stadium is at 2/3rd capacity unless Beckham or Henry are in town. A car is a car but I’d rather drive a Porsche than a Kia. U.S. soccer is still way behind the curve. And by the way 80% of Saturdays crowd was cheering for Mexico. The U.S. couldn’t even sell out its other games in this tourney.

  8. GK00DAD on 27 June 2011
  9. I don’t look at it as if we are behind the curve. Rather, we are just late to the kick ass party that is football, futbol, soccer.

    I rather be a leader and advocate for domestic soccer than sit and wait for others to bring it at a much higher level. Lucky for all of us MLS is growing and progressing at a faster rate than initially thought.. even while the naysayers didn’t think MLS would last a fraction of its current age. It won’t be the top league in the world but it can and should be one of the top leagues… Even when that time comes some of our own countrymen will be latecomers to one awesome party… in their very own backyard

  10. Michael Macias on 27 June 2011
  11. “Over ninety-thousand spectators gathered in the Rose Bowl to watch a US sporting event.”

    The article lost credibility with the first sentence, and I stopped reading after that…
    …It was not a US sporting event, it was hosted in the U.S, but it was a CONCACAF event.

    I agree with GK000DAD, and wish MLS the best(I wont follow it until we have a team), but don’t insult the readers intelligence with articles likes this.

  12. Dark Chicharito on 27 June 2011
  13. This article has accomplished 1 thing if any: Alienating those of us who love international football.

    Horrible thing to post on the site in a time where a lot of us are already becoming disillusioned with the debacle that is becoming the Scorpions. Let this be posted in a personal medium, and maybe link to it from twitter/facebook. To put this on the main page of the site is a real low blow to any of us who have supported the Crocketteers’ efforts but love our clubs around the world. Seems like every day something else happens to suck my passion out of this NASL project.

    I have more connection to Bayern Munich than I have any MLS team. I’m not going to “Pick a team” just because the country I live in has a growing league. That is the least respectable thing a fan can do. The club finds you, and if that club is in Europe, Asia, South America or Africa, that’s who you support.

    Look, I hope as much as anyone that San Antonio can get an MLS team, and I want to support those efforts. However, if the club isn’t one that I can relate to or love, I will never be able to support it with as much passion as I do the club that introduced me to this beautiful game, the club of my heritage.

    If anyone can abandon a club like that just to PICK an MLS team, chances are they don’t have nearly the love for club football like we do. When my team found me, I married it, and I am not going to cheat on it for some young new club just because she comes from a town near where I’m from. You may call me a Eurosnob, but I’m not the one looking down my nose at people.

  14. GrahamH on 28 June 2011
  15. I don’t think anyone wants people to abandon their chosen clubs. However, There are some out there that will not even go to an MLS game or even watch because it is not one of the big three. The question for some is What does MLS need to do for some to watch or follow? What would need to change?

    Many people are missing the author’s point. There are leagues out their far superior to MLS. But every year MLS gets better and better. And that’s a good thing for American soccer. In time the gap will continue to shrink. In the meantime, accept MLS for what it is and come out a watch a game a two. You might have a good time.

  16. James on 29 June 2011
  17. See James, what you said sounds great and positive. That may have been the author’s point, but the tone and attitude of the article is negative and demeaning. That was my main problem with it. I agree with everything in your post James.

  18. GrahamH on 29 June 2011
  19. Graham, I don’t hope anyone abandons anything. My club team is in South Africa and they’ll always be my club.

    My growing love for MLS is simply an excitement that better soccer is being played domestically than ever before.

    The column was a little cheeky, hence the “dr strangelove” inspired title and the implication at the end of the piece that the world must be ending if we can acknowledge that MLS isn’t embarrassing anymore.

    If anything, we need more Grahams in our midst, people who love soccer, demand quality, and hold club loyalty so dear. I’ll stand and chant with you any day.

    -Kyle

  20. Kyle on 29 June 2011
  21. I actually enjoyed the article. If anything the theme is more to stop the hate of MLS and take a second or maybe even third look at the league.

    I did not get the impression the author was hating on euro clubs and suggesting we abandon a team we have dedicate our support to from afar.

    The videos serve as examples of various items that continue to mature in MLS. Quality of Play, stadium atmosphere and the like. Is he saying it is at the euro level? I don’t think he is.

    If there is anything to take offense to in the article is the use of the term ‘eurosnob’. Being offended by such a term is no different then MLS backers being offended by those who bash MLS.

    If anything, whoever falls under the ‘eurosnob’ category should be honored that MLS backers are asking you to take another look. It is as if us MLS backers seek your mighty approval and one day when you finally ‘approve’ we MLS backers may think we our league has finally arrived.

    Personally, I think MLS will arrive and be respected by the world once our most critical supporters of the beautiful game get behind MLS. If we can’t win over our local critics, we will never be considered a top league.

  22. David on 29 June 2011
  23. Y’all wanna know the great news? Three years ago, we had no place to even debate these things. The Crocketteers have mobilized, collectivized, and energized hundreds of us to promote soccer in San Antonio.

    No matter where our allegiances lie or where our goals for the community lie, we have a place to call home and a unified voice in the community.

    Victory or Death.
    Kyle

  24. Kyle on 29 June 2011
  25. Great comments all around! The goal of any good article is to stir interest; it’s to get people thinking and discussing, whether in favor of or strongly against, and this one has fulfilled that goal. I for one enjoyed it.

    I am very passionate about soccer and you’ll always hear me say that I’m a soccer fan first, club fan second. Where ever there is great soccer I’m doing my best to tune in. On that note the prospect of having great soccer in MLS is damn exciting, and I think we all agree we’d like to see that happen sooner than later.

    Regards,
    Sergio J. ‘chex’ Macias

  26. Sergio J. Macias on 30 June 2011
  27. I look at it like being married to your wife. She is probably not the hottest woman (supermodel) in the world but you make way for her in your heart and mind. EPL, Serie A, La Liga are supermodels, gotta embrace your wife even if she isnt the supermodel of the world. Go to PPL Park, go to Seattle, go to Salt Lake, go to Toront, go to Portland, you will see passion and soem good football. I have seen alot of crappy matches in the EPL last season that made me go to sleep. Euro snobs stop hating.

  28. JaredfromSA on 2 July 2011
  29. Im a Football fan since birth, but the club of my life and love is Club America from Mexico, currently ranked 6th in the concacaf and 207th in the world, it isnt the greatest team but for me it is, my team has 14 national titles including with the amateur era, 6 copa Mexico, 1 copa challenger, 5 campeon de campeones, 1 interliga, 5 concacaf championships, 2 interamericanas and 1 giants cup, aanndd i adore it with all my heart, and will not change aliegence with any other team as im an Americanista by traditional birth right, i live it with a passion, and always found myself in a position where i just cant replace with another team, for me that is the team and i dont go for another team in the sense of beign pasionate about another football club, but will support a couple, me beign also born in Chicago i have tought if the scorpions do make it as an MLS team when scorpions and fire face each other then at that point who should i root for, i was born in Chicago but never really supported the fire either much as when i lived there the mls was still growing and still is, I dont expect in reality to become a full blown MLS football lover but do support it as Football is the greatest sport in the world and finally the US is waking up to the reality of this sport, it isnt the best in the Americas nor the world but it is still a baby, best thing to do is just support it and root for the team you like or love here in the US, for now i shall still support Scorpions and Fire but will always love Club America :).

    PS i always enjoy watching live football, that is why i also go to see the scorpions and tought about buying season tickets when they have their own stadium next season., Remember Rome wasnt built in a day.

  30. Lalo on 14 August 2012

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